CATASTROPHIC FLOOD DISASTER IN LOUISIANAAugust 12--19, 2016 Walter Hays, Global Alliance for Disaster Reduction, Vienna, Virginia, USA
RECORD-SETING RAINFALL (WITHOUT THE HELP OF A TROPICAL STORM OR HURRICANE) AND FLOODING CAUSED CATASTROPHIC SOCIO-ECONOMIC LOSSES THROUGHOUT THE STATE
WHY DID THIS HAPPEN • "An area of low pressure began meandering along the Gulf Coast and pulling moisture straight out of the Gulf of Mexico, causing historic rainfall and setting the stage for major flooding.”
WHAT HAPPENED? • With the Gulf as an infinite source of water, in one day, Louisiana (e.g., Baton Rouge, the capitol), received more rain in one day than normally received in one month.
WHAT HAPPENED? • AND, this continued for several days until an estimated 6.9 trillion gallons had fallen in the Baton Rouge area alone.
PRELIMINARY REPORTS (As of August 19) Wide spread loss of function of infrastructure, loss of food and cash-crops, and loss of productivity causes regional paralysis.
PRELIMINARY REPORTS (As of August 19) HUGE economic losses from the inundation of more than 60,000 residences, with only 12 percent of the losses likely to be covered by flood insurance.
PRELIMINARY REPORTS (As of August 19) INCALCULABLE personal losses and tons of trash from the inundation of more than 60,000 residences.
EMERGENCY OPERATIONS UNDERWAY • Gov. John Bel Edwards declared 21 parishes in Louisiana as disaster zones and called up 1,200 National Guards to assist in emergency ops. • 170 high water vehicles, 20 boats, and five helicopters are in action.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) dispatched 1,100 specialists WITHIN 48 HOURS TO PROVIDE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO THE STATE
PRELIMINARY REPORTS (As of August 19) • THIRTEEN deaths have been reported • More than 30,000 people and over 500 pets have been rescued from inundated cars, trucks, and homes, and other high-risk situations.
THE NORM QUICKLY EMERGED: PEOPLE SPONTANEOUSLY AND VOLUNTARILY HELPING EACH OTHER COPE WITH ADVERSITY
AMERICAN RED CROSS, SAMARITAN’S PURSE, AND OTHER FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS ARRIVED WITHIN 48 HOURS TO PROVIDE SHELTER, FOOD, WATER, MEDICINE, AND COUNSELLING IN COOPERATION WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
CAUSES OF RISK LOSS OF FUNCTION OF STRUCTURES IN FLOODPLAIN INUNDATION INTERACTION WITH HAZARDOUS MATERIALS STRUCTURAL/CONTENTS DAMAGE FROM WATER FLOODS WATER BORNE DISEASES (HEALTH PROBLEMS) FLOOD DISASTER LABORATORIES EROSION AND MUDFLOWS CONTAMINATION OF GROUND WATER
BAD NEWS: THE IMPACT OF THE POLLUTED WATER, WATER-BORNE DISEASES, AND MOULD ON HEALTH IS A HUGE UNKNOWN AT PRESENT AND WILL CONTINUE AS SUCH FOR A PERIOD OF TIME.
BAD NEWS • The ground is saturated over a wide area, and runoff will continue for weeks, - - - • Ithe runoff is to toward the Gulf of Mexico, so low-lying urban areas (like New Orleans), are still at risk..
BAD NEWS • Recovery and-reconstruction-rehabilitation of inundated homes, businesses, and infrastructure will be slow and costly.